"Spring" bulb recommendations for central Florida?

Chapin, SC(Zone 7b)

I'm a new DG member and putting in a new landscape in Maitland (zone 9b). Does anyone have recommendations for bulbs that would work well for me? I would love to have some irises and freesias.

Thanks,

LaLambchop

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

you probubly need to talk to mothernature, she will give you the proper lowdown.

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

Hey, LaLamb. I'm borderline Zone 8b/9a, so my experience may be different than what you will have in your climate further south.

I've had luck with getting freesias to flower, but it seemed to take about a year or two. I had forgotten I planted any, but some of them flowered this Spring. I've also grown Monkey Flower (Babiana stricta) successfully. Japanese Iris and Walking Iris do fine. I think it is generally too hot and wet here for standard Iris. I've never seen anyone growing them around here. Tete-et-Tete jonquil is about the only yellow daffodil type flower that I've had rebloom, and I think it is rated as far south as Zone 10. There is a variety of Paperwhite narcissus that grows and blooms as a perennial here, but it may be that the bulbs take a few years to get acclimated. I bought about 300 paperwhites wholesale, hoping to have one area of my garden be a wave of white flowers in the Spring. The leaves of the paperwhites come up strong and healthy each year, but I have very few blooms. I don't think it is a matter of lack of care nor a need for fertilizer because I see them sometimes unattended at deserted home sites or around areas where they have escaped from former gardens, blooming each Spring. This year, I tried Mariposa (Calochortus venustus) lilies for the first time and they were a delight and bloomed for a month or two. I hope they will return next year. Also, many of the small flowering aliums will come up early in the Spring and go dormant for our hot, humid summers, but they are not very showy. My favorite new Spring flower from a bulb this year was Star Flower (Ipheion uniflorum). The sky blue color was wonderful!

If you wait for the bulb companies to offer their "grab bags" of tulips, daffodils, and other Spring bulbs at the very end of their season, you can buy the bulbs cheaply in bulk, store them in your refrigerator crisper for a month or two, plant them shortly before the last frost (if you have frost down your way) and enjoy them once when they bloom as if they are annuals with no thought of ever seeing them return again. Some of our public gardens use that method or a similar method around here to put on a Spring garden flower show that could never happen naturally in our climate.

I hope this gives you some idea of where to begin looking for your climate. I wouldn't trust the Zone ratings the bulb companies provide for some of their bulbs. They seem to stretch the boundaries a bit, it seems to me, hoping to sell more bulbs, or if the bulbs actually grow in Zone 9, it must be a very different, dryer Zone 9 than we have in Florida such that the bulbs don't rot in the ground in the summer, which is often the case here.

Jeremy

High Springs, FL(Zone 8b)

Amaryllis are always an excellent choice! ; )

mid central, FL(Zone 9a)

i forgot about walking iris. that does lovely here in 9. you know, i cant quite figure out if i'm in a or b. when my walking iris is starting to develope babies at the ends, i just snip them off and pot em up. another good one to try would be the dietes group, the africans. they are everywhere around here and seem to do wonderfuly.

Jacksonville, FL(Zone 8b)

I agree with the suggestion from Amaryllis about Amaryllis! I look for the Amaryllis bulbs at Christmas time in the mega stores. They often order too many Amaryllis and they burst into bloom and the bloom fades before they can sell the plant. They usually offer a significant discount on the flowerless bulb which is ready to be put into the ground and come back into flower in the garden for years to come.

My local Lowe's is selling Amaryllis in flower now! Or should I say, TRYING to sell them. No one seems eager to snap them up as a summertime floral display. There seems to be about the same number of Amaryllis each time I visit the store. I expect there will soon be quite a few Amaryllis bulbs on the half-price sale table at Lowe's.

Jeremy

Fort Pierce, FL(Zone 10a)

LaLambchop, WELCOME to DG and the Florida Gardening Forum. I don't have any advice (I'm usually asking for it), but there are so many great gardeners here I'm sure you'll get all the help you need.
Pati

PS: cute name!

Chapin, SC(Zone 7b)

Hi to everyone that posted and thanks for the welcome and the advice. I have more going for me than I'd remembered. I have had great luck with the walking iris and amaryllis already. My mom sent oriental lily bulbs as a gift this year and they have been so beautiful in scent and scenery that it would be worth doing them as the "annual" idea described above. I'll get a few of the other bulbs ya'll mentioned and give them a try.

Happy Gardening.

Chops

P.S. - Can you believe we have a "D" hurricane this early in July? Charlie was Aug.13th last year! Stay safe. I'll be praying for you.

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